IV.—MISCELLANEOUS TALES.

xxxiii.—The Island of Women.

   In ancient days, an Aino chieftain of Iwanai went to sea in order to catch sea-lions, taking with him his two sons. They speared a sea-lion, which, however, swam off with the spear sticking in its body. Meanwhile a gale began to blow down from the mountains. The men cut the rope which was fast to the spear. Then their boat floated on. After some time, they reached a beautiful land. When they had reached it, a number of women in fine garments came down from the mountains to the shore. They came bearing a beautiful woman in a litter. Then all the women who had come to the shore returned to the mountains. Only the one in the litter came close to the boat, and spoke thus: "This land is woman-land. It is a land where no men p. 38 live. It being now spring, and there being something peculiar to this country of mine you shall be taken care of in my house until the autumn; and in the winter you shall become our husbands. The following spring I will send you home. So now do you bear me to my house."

   Thereupon the Aino chief and his sons bore the woman in the litter to the mountains. They saw that the country was all like moorland. Then the chieftainess entered the house. There was a room there with a golden netting, like a mosquito-net. The three men were placed inside it. The chieftainess fed them herself. In the day-time numbers of women came in. They sat beside the golden mosquito-net, looking at the men. At nightfall they went home. So gradually it got to be autumn. Then the chieftainess spoke as follows, "As the fall of the leaf has now come, and as there are two vice-chieftainesses besides me, I will send your two sons to them. You yourself shall be husband to me." Then two beautiful women came in, and led off the two sons by the hand, while the chieftainess kept the chief for herself.

   So the men dwelt there. When spring came, the chieftain's wife spoke thus to him: "We women of this country differ from yours. At the same time as the grass begins to sprout, teeth sprout in our vaginas. So our husbands cannot stay with us. The east wind is our husband. When the east wind blows, we all turn our buttocks towards it, and thus conceive children. Sometimes we bear male children. But these male children are killed and done away with when they become fit to lie with women. For that reason, this is a land which has women only. It is called woman-land. So when, brought by some bad god, you came to this land of mine, there were teeth in my vagina because it was summer, for which reason I did not marry you. But I married you when the teeth fell out. Now, as the teeth are again sprouting in my vagina because spring has come, it is now impossible for us to sleep together. I will send you home to-morrow. So do tell your sons to come here to-day in order to be ready."

   The sons came. The chieftainess stayed in the house. Then, with tears streaming down her face, she spoke thus: "Though it is p. 39 dangerous, to-night is our last night. Let us sleep together!" Then the man, being much frightened, took a beautiful scabbard in a bag in his bosom, and lay with the woman with this scabbard. The mark of the teeth remained on the scabbard. The next day dawned. Then the man went to his boat, taking his sons with him. The chieftainess wept and spoke thus: "As a fair wind is blowing away from my country, you, if you set sail and sail straight ahead, will be able to reach your home at Iwanai." So then the men entered their boat, and went out to sea. A fair wind was blowing down from the mountains, and they went along under sail. After a time they saw land; they saw the mountains about Iwanai. Going on for a time, they came to the shore of Iwanai. Their wives were wearing widows' caps. So their husbands embraced them. So the story of woman-land was listened to carefully. All the Ainus saw the beautiful scabbard which the chief had used with that woman.—(Translated literally. Told by Penri, 17th July, 1886.)

 

xxxiv.—The Worship of the Salmon, the Divine Fish.

   A certain Aino went out in a boat to catch fish in the sea. While he was there, a great wind arose, so that he drifted about for six nights. Just as he was like to die, land came in sight. Being borne on to the beach by the waves, he quietly stepped ashore, where he found a pleasant rivulet. Having walked up the bank of this rivulet for some distance, he saw a populous place. Near the place were crowds of people, both men and women. Going on to it, and entering the house of the chief, he found an old man of very divine aspect. That old man said to him: "Stay with us a night, and we will send you home to your country to-morrow. Do you consent?"

   So the Aino spent the night with the old chief. When next day came, the old chief spoke thus: "Some of my people, both men and women, are going to your country for purposes of trade. So, if you will be led by them, you will be able to go home. When they take you with them in the boat, you must lie down, and not look about you, but completely hide your head. If you do that, you may return. p. 40 If you look, my people will be angry. Mind you do not look." Thus spoke the old chief.

   Well, there was a whole fleet of boats, inside of which crowds of people, both men and women, took passage. There were as many as five score boats, which all started off together. The Aino lay down inside one of them and hid his head, while the others made the boats go to the music of a pretty song. He liked this much. After awhile, they reached the land. When they had done so, the Aino, peeping a little, saw that there was a river, and that they were drawing water with dippers from the mouth of the river, and sipping it. They said to each other: "How good this water is!" Half the fleet went up the river. But the boat in which the Aino was went on its voyage, and at last reached his native place, whereupon the sailors threw the Aino into the water. He thought he had been dreaming. Afterwards he came to himself. The boat and its sailors had disappeared—whither he could not tell. But he went to his house, and, falling asleep, dreamt a dream. He dreamt that the same old chief appeared to him and said: "I am no human being. I am the chief of the salmon, the divine fish. As you seemed in danger of dying in the waves, I drew you to me and saved your life. You thought you only stayed with me one night. But in truth that night was a whole year. When it was ended, I sent you back to your native place. So I shall be truly grateful if henceforth you will offer rice-beer to me, set up the divine symbols in my honour, and worship me with the words 'I make a libation to the chief of the salmon, the divine fish.' If you do not worship me, you will become a poor man. Remember this well!" Such were the words which the divine old man spoke to him in his dream.—(Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 17th July, 1886.)

 

xxxv.—The Hunter in Hades.

   A handsome and brave young man, who was skilful in the chase, one day pursued a large bear into the recesses of the mountains. On and on ran the bear, and still the young fellow pursued it up heights and crags more and more dangerous, but without ever being able to p. 41 get near enough to shoot it with his poisoned arrows. At last, on a bleak mountain-summit, the bear disappeared down a hole in the ground. The young man followed it in, and found himself in an immense cavern, at the far end of which was a gleam of light. Towards this he groped his way, and, on emerging, found himself in another world. Everything there was as in the world of men, but more beautiful. There were trees, houses, villages, human beings. With these, however, the young hunter had no concern. What he wanted was his bear, which had totally disappeared. The best plan seemed to be to seek it in the remoter mountain district of this new world underground. So he followed up a valley; and, being tired and hungry, picked the grapes and mulberries that were hanging to the trees, and ate them as he trudged along.

   Happening suddenly, for some reason or other, to look down upon his own body, what was not his horror to find himself transformed into a serpent! His very cries and groans, on making the discovery, were turned into serpent's hisses. What was he to do? To go back like this to his native world, where snakes are hated, would be certain death. No plan presented itself to his mind. But, unconsciously, he wandered, or rather crept and glided, back to the entrance of the cavern that led home to the world of men; and there, at the foot of a pine-tree of extraordinary size and height, he fell asleep.

   To him then, in a dream, appeared the goddess of the pine-tree, and said: "I am sorry to see you in this state. Why did you eat of the poisonous fruits of Hades? The only thing you can do to recover your proper shape is to climb to the top of this pine-tree, and fling yourself down. Then you may, perhaps, become a human being again."

   On waking from this dream, the young man,—or rather snake, as he still found himself to be,—was filled half with hope and half with fear. But he resolved to follow the goddess' advice. So, gliding up the tall pine-tree, he reached its topmost branch, and, after hesitating a few moments, flung himself down. Crash he went. On coming to his senses, he found himself standing at the foot of the tree; and close by was the body of an immense serpent, ripped open so as to allow of his having crawled out of it. After offering up thanks to p. 42 the pine-tree, and setting up the divine symbols in its honour, he hastened to retrace his steps through the long, tunnel-like cavern, through which he had originally entered Hades. After walking for a certain time, he emerged into the world of men, to find himself on the mountain-top, whither he had pursued the bear which he had never seen again.

   On reaching his home, he went to bed, and dreamt a second time. It was the same goddess of the pine-tree, that appeared before him and said: "I have come to tell you that you cannot stay long in the world of men after once eating the grapes and mulberries of Hades. There is a goddess in Hades who wishes to marry you. She it was who, assuming the form of a bear, lured you into the cavern, and thence to the under-world. You must make up your mind to come away."

   And so it fell out. The young man awoke; but a grave sickness overpowered him. A few days later he went a second time to Hades, and returned no more to the land of the living.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 22nd July, 1886.)

 

xxxvi.—An Inquisitive Man's Experience of Hades.

   Three generations before my time there lived an Aino who wished to find out whether the stories told about the existence of an underworld were true. So one day he penetrated into an immense cavern (since washed away by the waves) at the river-mouth of Sarubutsu. All was dark in front, all was dark behind. But at last there was a glimmer of light a-head. The man went on, and soon emerged into Hades. There were trees, and villages, and rivers, and the sea, and large junks loading fish and seaweed. Some of the people were Ainos, some were Japanese, just as in the every-day world. Among the number were some whom he had known when they were alive. But, though he saw them, they,—strange to say,—did not seem to see him. Indeed he was invisible to all, excepting to the dogs; for dogs see everything, even spirits, and the dogs of Hades barked at him fiercely. Hereupon the people of the place, judging that some evil spirit had come among them, threw him dirty food, such as evil p. 43 spirits eat, in order, as they thought, to appease him. Of course he was disgusted, and flung the filthy fish-bones and soiled rice away. But every time that he did so the stuff immediately returned to the pocket in his bosom, so that he was greatly distressed.

   At last, entering a fine-looking house near the beach, he found his father and mother,—not old, as they were when they died, but in the heyday of youth and strength. He called to his mother, but she ran away trembling. He clasped his father by the hand, and said: "Father! don't you know me? can't you see me? I am your son." But his father fell yelling to the ground. So he stood aloof again, and watched how his parents and the other people in the house set up the divine symbols, and prayed in order to make the evil spirit depart.

   In his despair at being unrecognized he did depart, with the unclean offerings that had been made to him still sticking to his person, notwithstanding his endeavours to get rid of them. It was only when, after passing back through the cavern, he had emerged once more into the world of men, that they left him free from their pollution. He returned home, and never wished to visit Hades again. It is a foul place.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 22nd July, 1886.)

 

xxxvii.—The Child of a God.

   There was a very beautiful woman, who was still without a husband. A man had already been fixed upon to become her husband, but he had not yet lain with her. Nevertheless the woman suddenly was with child. For this reason she was greatly surprised. As for other people, they thought thus: "She has probably become with child through lying with some other man." That was what other people said. The man who was to be her husband was very angry. But he could not know whence it was that she was with child.

   Then she was delivered. She bore a little snake. She was greatly ashamed. Her mother took the little snake, went out, and spoke thus, with tears: "What god has deigned to beget a child in my daughter? Though he should deign to beget one, it would at least p. 43 be well if he had begotten a human child. But this little snake we human beings cannot keep. As it is the child of the god who begot it, he may as well keep it." So saying, she threw it away. Then the old woman went in.

   This being so, afterwards there was the noise of a baby crying. The old woman went out, and looked. It was a nice baby. Then the old woman carried it in. The woman who had given birth to the child rejoiced with tears. Then the baby was found to be a boy, and was kept. Gradually he grew big. After a time he became a man. Then, being a very fine man, he killed large numbers both of deer and of bears.

   The woman who had given birth to him was alone astonished. What had happened was that, while she slept, the light of the sun had shone upon her through the opening in the roof. Thus had she become with child. Then she dreamt a dream, which said: "I, being a god, have given you a child, because I love you. When you die, you shall truly become my wife. Your and my son, when he gets a wife, shall have plenty of children." The woman dreamt thus, and worshipped. Then that son of hers, when pursued by the bears, could not be caught. He was a great hunter, a very rich man.

   Then the woman died, without having had a human husband. Afterwards her son, getting a wife, had children, and became rich. His descendants are living to this day .—(Translated literally. Told by Penri, 21st July, 1886.)

 

xxxviii.—Buying a Dream.

   A certain thickly populated village was governed by six chiefs, the oldest of whom lorded it over the other five. One day he made a feast, brewed some rice-beer, and invited the other five chiefs, and feasted them. When they were departing, he said: "To-morrow each of you must tell me the dream which he shall have dreamt overnight; and if it is a good dream I will buy it."

   So next day four of the chiefs came and told their dreams. But they were all bad dreams, not worth buying. The fifth, however, did not come, though he was waited for at first, and then sent for several p. 45 times. At last, when brought by force, he would not open his lips. So the senior chief flew into a rage, and caused a hole to be dug in front of the door of his own house, and had the man buried in it up to his chin, and left there all that day and night.

   Now the truth was that the senior chief was a bad man, that the junior chief was a good man, and that this junior chief had forgotten his dream, but did not dare to say so. After dark, a kind god came and said: "You are a good man. I am sorry for you, and will take you out of the hole." This he did; and, at that very moment, the chief remembered how he had dreamt of having been led up the bank of a stream through the woods to the house of a goddess who smiled beautifully, and whose room was carpeted with skins; how she had comforted him, fed him plenteously, and sent him home in gorgeous array, and with instructions for deceiving and killing his enemy, the senior chief. "I suppose you remember it all now," said the god; "it was I who caused you to forget it, and thus saved you from having it bought by the wicked senior chief, because I am pleased with the way in which you keep the privy clean, not even letting grass grow near it. And now I will show you the reality of that of which before you saw only the dream-image."

   So the man was led up the bank of a stream through the woods to the house of the goddess, who smiled beautifully, and whose room was carpeted with skins. She was the badger-goddess. She comforted him, fed him plenteously, and said: "You must deceive the senior chief, saying that the god of door-posts, pleased at your being buried near him, took you out, and gave you these beautiful clothes. He will then wish to have the same thing happen to him." So the man went back to the village, and appeared in all his splendid raiment before the senior chief, who had fancied him to be still in the hole,—a punishment which would be successful if it made him confess his dream, and also if it killed him.

   Then the good junior chief told him the lies in which the badger-goddess had instructed him. Thereupon the senior chief caused himself to be buried in like fashion up to the neck, but soon died of the effects. Afterwards the badger-goddess came down to the village, p. 46 and married the good man, who became the senior of all the chiefs.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 16th November, 1886.)

 

xxxix.—The Baby in the Box.

   There was once a woman who was tenderly loved by her husband. At last, after some years, she bore him a son. Then the father loved this son even more than he loved his wife. She therefore thought thus: "How pleasant it used to be formerly, when my husband loved me alone! But now, since I have borne him this nasty child, he loves it more than he does me. It will be well for me to make away with it."

   Thus thinking, she waited till her husband had gone off bear-hunting in the mountains, and then put the baby into a box, which she took to the river and allowed to float away. Then she returned home. Later on, her husband came back; and she, with feigned tears, told him that the baby had disappeared—stolen or strayed,—and that she had vainly searched all round about the house and in the woods. The man lay down, like to die of grief, and refused all food. Only at length, when he saw that his wife, too, went without her food, did he begin to eat a little, fearing, in his affection for her, that she too might die of hunger. However, it was only when he was present that she fasted. She ate her fill behind his back.

   At last, one day, not knowing what to do to rouse him, she said to him: "Look here! I will divert you with a story." Then she told him the whole story exactly as it had happened, being herself, all the while, under the delusion that she was telling him an ancient fairy-tale. Then he flew into a rage, took his bludgeon, beat her to death, and then threw her corpse out-of-doors. This was the way in which the gods chose to punish her.

   Then the husband, knowing now that his search must be made down the stream, started off. At last, after seeking for a long time, he came to a lonely house, where he found a very venerable-looking old man, an old woman, and their middle-aged daughter, and also a boy. He said to the old man: "'I come to ask whether you know p. 47 anything of my little boy, who was placed in a box and set to float down the stream." The old man replied: "One day, when my daughter here went to draw water from the river, she found a box with a little boy in it. We knew not whether the child was a human creature, a god, or a devil. So doubtless he is yours. We have kept the box too. Here it is. You can judge by looking at it."

   It turned out to be the same box, and the same boy. So the father rejoiced. Then the old man said: "Remain here. I will give to you for wife this daughter of mine, my only child. Live with us as long as my old wife and I remain alive. Feed us, and then you shall inherit from me." The man did so. When the old people died, he inherited all their possessions; and then, with his new wife and his beloved son, returned to his own village. So you see that, even among us Ainos, there are wicked women.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 17th November, 1886.)

 

xl.—The Bride Bewitched.

   There once was a very beautiful girl who had many suitors. But, as soon as she was married to one, and he lay down beside her and then stretched out his hand toward her vagina, a voice came from it, warning him to desist. This so much alarmed the bridegroom that he fled. This happened nine or ten times, till at last the girl was in despair; for none would now wed her, and her old father was put to shame. They plunged her into the water of the river, but it had no effect. So at last, in her grief, she ran to the mountains, and threw herself down at the foot of a magnolia-tree.

   When, after some difficulty, she fell asleep, she dreamt that the tree was a house, outside of which she was laying, and from the window of which a lovely goddess popped out her head and said: "What has happened is in no way your fault. Your beauty has caused a wicked fox to fall in love with you. It is he who has got into your vagina, and who speaks out of it, in order to prevent the approach of any ordinary mortal husband. He, too, it is who has lured you out here, to carry you away altogether. But do not allow yourself to become subject to his influence. I will give you some beautiful clothes, and p. 48 cause you to reach your house in safety. You must tell your father all about me." Then the girl awoke and went home. Her father exorcised the fox at last by carving an exact likeness of his daughter, and offering it to the fox with respectful worship. Then she married, and gave birth to children, and was happy all her life.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 17th November, 1886.)

 

xli.—The Wicked Stepmother.

   In ancient days, when men were allowed to have several wives, a certain man had two—one about his own age, the other quite young,—and he loved them both with equal tenderness. But when the younger of the two bore him a daughter, his love for his daughter made him also perhaps a little fonder of the mother of the child than of his other wife, to the latter's great rage. She revolved in her mind what to do, and at last feigned a grave illness, pretending not to be able even to eat, though she did eat when everybody's back was turned. At last, being to all appearance on the point of death, she declared that one thing alone could cure her. She must have the heart of her little step-child to eat.

   On hearing this, the man felt very sad, and knew not what to do; for he loved this wicked wife of his and his little daughter equally dearly. But at last he decided that he might more easily get another daughter than another wife whom he would love as much as he did this one. So he commanded two of his servants to carry off the child to the forest while her mother was not looking, to slay her there, and bring back her heart. Ho they took her. But, being merciful men, they slew, instead of her, a dog that came by that way, and brought the child back secretly to her mother, who was much frightened to hear what had happened, and who fled with the child. Meanwhile the dog's heart was brought to the step-mother, who was so overjoyed at the sight of it, that she declared she required no more. So, without even eating it, she left off pretending to be sick.

   For some time after this, she lived alone with her husband. But at last he was told of what had happened, and he grew very sullen. She, seeing this, wished for a livelier husband. So one day, when her p. 49 husband was out hunting, a young man, beautifully dressed all in black, came and courted her, and she flirted with him, and showed him her breasts. Then they fled together, and came to a beautiful house with gold mats, where they slept together. But when she woke in the morning it was not a house at all, but a rubble of leaves and branches in the midst of the forest; and her new husband was nothing but a carrion-crow perching overhead, and her own body, too, was turned into a crow's, and she had to eat dung.

   But the former husband was warned in a dream to take back his younger wife and his child, and the three lived happily together ever after. From that time forward most men have left off the bad habit of having more than one wife.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, November, 1886.)

 

xlii.—The Clever Deceiver.

   A long, long time ago there was a rascal, who went to the mountains to fetch wood. As he did not know how to amuse himself, he climbed to the top of a very thick pine-tree. Having munched some rice be stuck it about the branches of the tree, so as to make it look like birds' dung. Then he went back to the village, to the house of the chief, and spoke thus to him: "I have found a place where a beautiful peacock has its nest. Let us go there together! Being such a poor man, I feel myself unworthy of going too near the divine bird. You, being a rich man, should take the peacock. It will be a great treasure for you. Let us go!"

   So the chief went there with him. When the chief looked, there truly were many traces of birds' dung near the top of the tall pine-tree. He thought the peacock was there. So he said: "I do not know how to climb trees. Though you are a poor man you do know how to do so. So go and get the peacock, and I will reward you well. Go and get the divine peacock!" So the poor man climbed the tree. When he was half way up it, he said: "Oh! sir, your house seems to be on fire." The chief was much frightened. Owing to his being frightened, he was about to run home. Then the rascal spoke thus: p. 50 "By this time your house is quite burnt down. There is no use in your running there." The rich man thought he would go anywhere to die; so he went towards the mountains. After he had gone a short way, he thought thus: "You should go and see even the traces of your burnt house." So he went down there. When he looked, he found that his house was not burnt at all. He was very angry, and wanted to kill that rascal. Then the rascal came down. The chief commanded his servants, saying: "You fellows! this man is not only poor, but a very badly behaved deceiver. Put him into a mat, and roll him up in it without killing him. Then throw him into the river. Do this!" Thus spoke the chief.

   The servants put the rascal into the mat, and tied it round tight. Then two of them carried him between them on a pole to the riverbank. They went to the river. The rascal spoke thus: "Though I am a very bad man, I have some very precious treasures. Do you go and fetch them. If you do so, it can be arranged about their being given to you. Afterwards you can throw me into the river." Hearing this, the two servants went off to the rascal's house.

   Meanwhile a blind old man came along from somewhere or other. His foot struck against something wrapped up in a mat. Astonished at this, he tapped it with his stick. Then the rascal said: "Blind man! If you will do as I tell you, the gods will give you eyes, and you will be able to see. So do so. If you will untie me and do as I tell you, I will pray to the gods, and your eyes will be opened." The blind old man was very glad. He untied the mat, and let the rascal out. Then the rascal saw that, though the man was old and blind, he was dressed very much like a god. The rascal said: "Take off your clothes and become naked, whereupon your eyes will quickly be opened." This being so, the blind old man took off his clothes. Then the rascal put him naked into the mat, and tied it round tight. Then he went off with the clothes, and hid.

   Shortly afterwards, the two men came, and said: "You rascal! you are truly a deceiver. So, though you possess no treasures, you possess plenty of deceit. So now we shall fling you into the water." The blind old man said: "I am a blind old man. I am not that p. 51 rascal. Please do not kill me!" But he was forthwith flung into the river. Afterwards the two men went home to their master's house.

   Afterwards the rascal put on the blind old man's beautiful clothes. Then he went to the chief's house and said: "My appearance of misbehaviour was not real. The goddess who lives in the river was very much in love with me. So she wanted to take and marry my spirit after I should have been killed by being thrown into the river. So my misdeeds are all her doing. Though I went to that goddess, I felt unworthy to become her husband, because I am a poor man. I have arranged so that you, who are the chief of the village, should go and have her, and I have come to tell you so. That being so, I am in these beautiful clothes because I come from the goddess." Thus he spoke. As the chief of the village saw that the rascal was dressed in nothing but the best clothes, and thought that he was speaking the truth, he said: "It will be well for me to be tied up in a mat, and flung into the river." Therefore this was done, just as had been done with the rascal, and he was drowned in the water.

   Alter that, the rascal became the chief, and dwelt in the drowned chief's house. Thus very bad men lived in ancient times also. So it is said.—(Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 18th July, 1886.)

 

xliii.—Yoshitsune.

   [It has been generally believed, both by Japanese and Europeans who have written about the Ainos, that the latter worship Yoshitsune, a Japanese hero of the twelfth century, who is said,—not, indeed, by Japanese historians, but by Japanese tradition,—to have fled to Yezo when the star of his fortune had set. The following details concerning Yoshitsune bear so completely the stamp of the myth, that they may, perhaps, be allowed a place in this collection. It should be mentioned that Yoshitsune is known to the Ainos under the name of Hongai Sama. Sama is the Japanese for "Mr." or "Lord." Hongai is the form in which, according to a regular law of permutation affecting words adopted into Aino from Japanese, the word Hōgwan, which was Yoshitsune's official title, appears! The p. 52 name of Hongai Sama is, however, used only in worship, not in the recounting of the myth. Mr. Batchelor, whose position as missionary to the Ainos must give his opinion great weight in such matters, thinks that the Ainos do not worship Yoshitsune. But I can only exactly record that which I was told myself.]

 

   Okikurumi, accompanied by his younger sister Tureshi[hi], had taught the Ainos all arts, such as hunting with the bow and arrow, netting and spearing fish, and many more; and himself knew everything by means of two charms or treasures. One of these was a piece of writing, the other was an abacus; and they told him whence the wind would blow, how many birds there were in the forest, and all sorts of other things.

   One day there came,—none know whence,—a man of divine appearance, whose name was unknown to all. He took up his abode with Okikurumi, and assisted the latter in all his labour with wonderful ability. He taught Okikurumi how to row with two oars instead of simply poling with one pole, as had been usual before in Aino-land. Okikurumi was delighted to obtain such a clever follower, and gave him his sister Tureshi[hi] in marriage, and treated him like his own son. For this reason the stranger got to know all about Okikurumi's affair, even the place where he kept his two treasures. The result of this was that one day when Okikurumi was out hunting in the mountains the stranger stole these treasures and all that Okikurumi possessed, and then fled with his wife Tureshi in a boat, of which they each pulled an oar. Okikurumi returned from the mountains to his home by the seaside, and pursued them alone in a boat; but could not come up to them, because he was only one against two. Then Tureshi excreted some large fœces in the middle of the sea, which became a large mountain in the sea, at whose base Okikurumi arrived. But so high was it that Okikurumi could not climb over it. Moreover, even had not the height prevented him, the fact of its being nothing but filthy fæces would have done so. As for going round either side of it, that would have taken him too much out of the way. So he went home again, feeling quite spiritless and vanquished, because robbed of his treasures.

p. 53

   This is the reason why, ever since, we Ainos have not been able to read.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 25th November, 1886.)

 

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